Tandem or Square Back Canoe???

Yes. $1900 is alot of money. No doubt. Last year I took the kids twice canoeing down a local creek. They loved it!

We just got a bonus at work. Haven’t had one of those in a few years. We’re also getting raises this year (next month). Haven’t had one of those in a few years. We scrimp and save and cut corners everywhere we can. The bills are paid and we have some money in the bank too. I never bought anything non-essential this expensive before. It is a bit unnerving. But I know doing adventurous canoe trips will bring lots of wonderful times and memories.

Its not a 3yr monthly payment, not a time share or a financial burden. Its a canoe. I think I’m ready to take the leap!

Rent in the Daks

– Last Updated: Mar-10-11 6:46 PM EST –

Yes. Don't buy yet.

Would you buy a car that you did not test drive?

St Regis Outfitters rents Wenonah Kevlar canoes.


Macs Livery rents large Wenonah canoes among others

The adage try before you buy applies to canoes as well as cars. I am not being elitist when I think that Kevlar will serve your portaging needs better for what you want to do..but look carefully first. Thats a big investment. The aim is to have you enjoying the same canoe when the family is older.

I have been to the St Regis Canoe area and have read some stories of people struggling with Royalex canoes on portages..never mind a squareback

There is historical reason for the sub 30 lb pack canoe.

Mac’s Livery has Minn 3’s and Minn 4’s
Jack L

Now you have me worried that I
recommended a Minn 3.

If there is any way at all that you could get to the buyer to test paddle it, I highly recommend doing just that before you buy it.

Even though I think it would be the perfect boat for your family of four, you could end up not liking it.

jack L

dont’ worry
Hi. Its ok. It also does come down to affordability. I’m like the 20’ canoes. I looked into several of them and they all seem similar. But I could only find a used 20’er (Minn 3) under $2000. I’ll keep my eye out for other quality 20’ers under $2k. I was heartened to see that (Mack’s Canoes?) 20’ers were Minn 3. Obviously, they’ve built their business by offering families a great canoeing experience. I doubt you could that by offering an inferior product.

I will rent first though. :slight_smile:

The conversation is not going well with the wife. Its alot of money. Its a ton of money for a toy (umm…canoe). I have two problems.

  1. Seeing the prices of canoes at Dicks Sporting Goods has brain washed her into thinking that that is the normal price for a canoe. $1900 is just incomprehensible.

  2. Scrimping, saving, and cutting corners for many years is not just a short term sacrifice, but a way of life for us. Spending that kind of money is completely out of our culture.

    How do I convince here that real canoes cost this much money? And how do I justify that kind of purchase? Any ideas are welcomed. Thank you!

Dial up the Swift and Placid websites. Show her that top end tandems cost ~$3500. Then the $2K- for a Wenonah won’t seem so outrageous!

all relative
Ask your wife if she would buy a Ford Pinto and drive around with your two boys in the back with 70s lap belts on for safety. Ok, maybe a little dramatic. Can you play the shoe card? My wife’s closet is always the fall back on new gear. Seriously though, I am cheap on many things but never gear. But as I am also a mildly sensitive married guy maybe rent for now and she will see the value in the experience and maybe see your future purchase as an investment in your family. Either that or rent for now and in six years get two Mad River Legend 15s.

Something to tell her…
You’ve got to figure that the canoe you purchase now isn’t going to be the best canoe for you 5 or 10 years from now. When the kids get bigger, they are either going to want their own boats or they are going to lose interest in canoeing. And when they get bigger, even a big canoe isn’t going to work real well for four near adult size people anyway. And, that big honking canoe isn’t going to be optimum if it’s just you and the wife in it all the time.

So in a few years you’re going to want to get rid of that big canoe and get either one or two smaller ones. If you take decent care of the $1900 canoe you buy now, you’ll probably be able to sell it then for nearly as much. If you buy a cheapo canoe from a big box store, chances are you won’t like it as much while you have it AND it’ll be practically worthless in resale value.

Two things
In your situation, she probably is exactly right, and your best bet would be to just rent a canoe on different occasions.

Once she has a chance to get in the boat and learn how to paddle, she might change her mind, or it might go the other way, and solidify it that she doesn’t want the money to be spent on one.

Secondly; go to the top of this page and click on “classifieds”. Then take a look at what various used canoes cost and show her. Keep in mind, that most if not all of them would not be suitable for a family of four.

We were in your situation many years ago, and there is no way I could afford canoes, (think eight children), so on our many camping trips we just would do with out. Now all our children have children and we have fourteen boats.

Your best bet is to rent, but keep hunting for a super deal on used big canoe.

Above all, keep that lovely lady happy!

Jack L

Here’s what you have to do. First, keep in mind that this is my advice…and that makes it the best advice you’ll ever get so listen closely and get ready to follow it to the letter. Get the $1900 number out of your mind. You’re a family of 4, you…yourself, and two 5 year olds. Any way you slice it, you’re going to end up with just you and the boys in a boat if the wife doesn’t end up liking it…or, the wife will really like it, the boys will be bigger soon and it’ll be you and one boy in 1 boat, and her and another one of the boys in another boat. For now, go look at a Wenonah Sundowner ( http://www.wenonah.com/products/template/product_detail.php?IID=231&SID=dbc06b4cfd2cd8b56a4fa0433d80a48f ). The Sundowner is a bullet proof 17 foot royalex canoe that will fit your family now, and if the wife doesn’t take to canoeing it will suit you and the boys for years and years. You can get them brand new for $1300 to $1400. It’s a great canoe…really versatile, will do well on lakes and rivers, and perfect for fishing with the kids, etc. No matter which boat you choose, if she likes canoeing in 5 years it’ll be two adults and two 10 year olds…you’ll need a second canoe at that point. The Sundowner will be perfect for you and one son…while you can get an even cheaper shorter canoe for your wife to take the other son (or both boys can use it while you and your wife use the Sundowner).

This is really the smartest way to go right now. She’ll be glad you spent the $1300 when you guys are sitting on an island in your folding chairs watching the sunset while you’re boys play or fish. Hell, you’ll even think back and say out loud… “thanks mjflores…your advice is always the best to follow and we’re glad we did!..I wish you’d run for president…you’re the coolest MoFo ever”.

Man, you got me sold
and I am n ot even looking for another canoe.

You got my vote

Jack L

Brilliant advice mjflores. ~laughing~ You got my vote!

My wife is not an outdoor enthuesiests as most of us are, but at the same time I do not want to exclude her for sharing happy times with the kids if/when she decides to join us. This has been a fun conversation!

Minnesota 3 vs others
I haven’t even paddled the Minn-3, but I have a Minn-2, so here is a thought, something like what MJ said.

The Minnesota series are fantastic specialized flatwater tripping boats. The Minn-3 can fairly be called a specialized boat. Something like the Champlain will be a bit slower, but will also be a bit more versatile, stable, and maneuverable. If the boys decide they like canoeing and want to go through their teenage years, you will need another boat anyway.

I have owned a couple dozen canoes at least, and have only bought two new. If you rent this summer, you may be able to buy the same boat in fall for a good price. You may also be able to try a couple of models side-by-side.

One more option - the Souris River Quetico 18’6" is a relatively “boring” craft, but it is stable, predictable, has lots of capacity, fairly durable, and is quite light. Just another one to consider if dealing with rental outfitters.

I was pretty sure MJ would
come up with four OT packs holding tails like circus animals!LOL

He is right. Kids only get older. You might get two Royalex boats for the price of one Kevlar. When you are an empty nester the MN 3 is going to be a sail.

When we had kids we had two cheapie shorter boats. One was a Grumman and one glass.

Snobs are not born…its the environment.

cheap and fun
I bought an aluminum square back canoe on a whim. I put a little trolling motor on it and its a blast with my son. We can fish, he gets to “drive” and its big and stable. Two 5 year olds, seriously how much attention span do you guys think he is going to get. Get them out on the water, put the motor up paddle across, fish for 5 minutes and when the “trouble” of two 5 year olds in the boat start up you will be blessing that little motor.

Talk to Topher about his war canoe
Just the thing to haul lots of people and lots of equipment.


How long a hull do you need?
The suggestion for a Minnesota III might be overkill for a beginning family. Yes it will be a fast hull that will hold everything and everyone. But they are beginners and the MN-III is not a particularly good beginner boat. It is fast because it is narrow and long. It can be a big handful in the wind and waves.

While i would not suggest a hull under 17’ there is really no need to go past an 18’Champlain. The royalex 17’ Sundowner suggested earlier would do the job for now while the kids are little, as would a Spirit II, both of which can be found used at less than $1900.

Go to the Adirondacks this year, base camp in one of the state campgrounds suggested on the replies to your other post on the other board. Rent and try different hulls and you may find a rental that will be for sale at the end of the season that you really like.


Renting is pretty cheap, there are too many unanswered questions,you don’t need to transport or store them. If you are going to use it less than about 10 days a year renting might make sense for the long term.

Mohawk Canoe
Hi. I found a used 17’ Mohawk canoe for sale on Craigslist. Its pretty affordable. The ad does not distinguish which 17’er it is.

Does anybody have an opinion on Mohawk Canoes?